In defense of the perfect bonus

cookiefonster

Wiki Admin
I've seen a lot of people say the perfect bonus (a bonus of 50,000 points if you collect every single ring in a level) should be removed from SRB2. If I'm not mistaken, it's an easter egg feature you won't ever encounter in casual gameplay that only was a thing in Sonic 2. But in my opinion, the perfect bonus fits SRB2, a game rife with easter eggs, like a glove. Especially because it's a 3D game that's HEAVILY oriented upon exploration. Yes, the reward for collecting all rings is merely one extra life, but I think the perfect bonus is better suited for bragging rights than something necessary to 100% the game.

I find perfect bonusing a level to be a demanding but very rewarding challenge that forces you to know a level through and through, make good use of shields, and even sometimes cleverly use abilities like the spin dash or hammering springs. Some levels can only be perfect bonused as certain characters, like Knuckles with THZ2 or Amy with GFZ2 (barring some crazy crawla bounce tricks as Knuckles). Almost every level in SRB2 can be perfect bonused by at least one character—the only ones that can't be are ACZ2 and HHZ.

(For those curious, I've perfect bonused GFZ1 as everyone except Fang, GFZ2 as Amy, THZ1, THZ2, and FHZ as Knuckles, and TLZ as Sonic.)
 

yfyfyfyfyfy

The dumbest man
I haven't seen any discussion on this topic, but fine.

I don't understand what is the point of deleting it. Let it exist. To whom does this disturb?

It can even be interesting and fun, like this

 

time gear

Eternity in an hour
It's a harmless feature. The only scenario I can envision removing it being appropriate would be if the score system itself was removed for some reason. The only scenario resulting in the removal of score entirely I can think of would be if the lives system was removed or overhauled, since the only real practical use to score is to gain 1-ups.
 

cookiefonster

Wiki Admin
I haven't seen any discussion on this topic, but fine.

I don't understand what is the point of deleting it. Let it exist. To whom does this disturb?

It can even be interesting and fun, like this

It is very interesting and very fun! A lot of levels present unique challenges when trying to perfect bonus them, especially as specific characters. GFZ1 has those eight rings up high near the armageddon shield area which may seem unreachable as Sonic, but actually can be reached several ways (I like doing so by spin dashing up the slope near the attraction shield, then jumping). THZ1 and THZ2 both have sets of rings under goop that are most efficiently collected by cleverly using the attraction shield, sometimes with help of invincibility. I haven't even figured out how to perfect bonus most later stages, but I'm sure there are a lot of enticing challenges there.
 
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Perfect Bonus was only a problem when there was an emblem tied to it, which is no longer the case in 2.2. So yeah, it's a neat easter egg, and it makes no sense to remove it. Who's even suggested doing so?
 

Seaballer

NiGHTS addict
I- I'm famous now? holyshit

I want to meet whoever said perfect bonus should be removed. It's such an innocent feature, I wouldn't think that it of all things would spark negativity.
 

Ace Dragon

Member
I would keep the perfect bonus intact, even though it is not possible to do it in each map.

The reason is because it provides a good challenge for experienced players, it also provides some nice material for promoting the game on social media. The only change I could see being made is the ability for map makers to disable it (for maps where it just can't be done).
 

Trolo Bobo

Get "N" or get out!
I don't understand this mentality some people have, if there's a feature that doesn't have a reward people would sooner remove the feature instead of giving it an appropriate reward. This kind of thinking I noticed is popular in discussions about other features too
 
I don't understand this mentality some people have, if there's a feature that doesn't have a reward people would sooner remove the feature instead of giving it an appropriate reward.

You're thinking of this wrong. The end-of-level acknowledgement and score bonus is the appropriate reward for collecting every ring in a level. Anything more than that (like the emblem that existed in 2.1) implies to the player that this tedious and unfun thing is something that they should try to do.

It's important to design a game so that the player is encouraged to interact with it in the most enjoyable way. It's an underappreciated and mostly invisible aspect of game design. Perfect Bonuses are currently handled exactly how they should be (the small percentage of players that enjoy it get acknowledged, but you don't miss out on anything for not bothering), and anything more would be a problem.
 

time gear

Eternity in an hour
The end-of-level acknowledgement and score bonus is the appropriate reward for collecting every ring in a level.

Perfect Bonuses are currently handled exactly how they should be (the small percentage of players that enjoy it get acknowledged, but you don't miss out on anything for not bothering), and anything more would be a problem.

Additionally, there's not really much more of a reward that would be appropriate to tie to it. Perfect Bonuses are a nice little thing to achieve for the sake of it, yes, but even if someone did want to put additional incentive for it the question would then become what that thing should be. An emblem, level, or character would all be excessive.

Generally, it's probably just not worth the effort of trying to add additional incentive since it functions just fine standalone. Get all the rings, get a bonus at the end of the level. It's simple, and rewards perfectionist types without punishing completionists.
 

CobaltBW

Community Noise Maker
Sonic Team Junior
Perfect bonus is fine in moderation; it's when the level design is expected to cater to the perfect bonus that it starts becoming a design issue.

All levels were tested and tweaked to ensure that perfect bonuses are achievable in each level. This occasionally leads to certain elements like springs being placed where they otherwise wouldn't be, which is bad for conveying level progression to the player. Not all levels can be backtracked in the classic Sonic games, and there's no reason why SRB2 shouldn't be following suit.
 

time gear

Eternity in an hour
Perfect bonus is fine in moderation; it's when the level design is expected to cater to the perfect bonus that it starts becoming a design issue.

All levels were tested and tweaked to ensure that perfect bonuses are achievable in each level. This occasionally leads to certain elements like springs being placed where they otherwise wouldn't be, which is bad for conveying level progression to the player. Not all levels can be backtracked in the classic Sonic games, and there's no reason why SRB2 shouldn't be following suit.

The solution to that is to design the levels in such a way as to make all of the rings collectable in one direction, but not the other. This way, a skilled player who knows were all the rings are can collect them on the way to the goal, and there's little need for backtracking.

For areas where characters have their specific split paths, there could be other ways of conveying progress and keeping the player safe without rewarding them additional rings for taking that path. For example, a Knuckles path could be optional, count as a shortcut, and be designed around gliding around falling lava. Partway through the path Knuckles could be rewarded with an elemental shield monitor that when broken allows him to safely traverse the rest of the path provided he avoids losing the shield to spikes or an enemy.

By not taking that path, a Knuckles player would be losing time on their way to the goal, but would still be able to obtain the perfect bonus. This would also be a functional design choice for people who don't care about perfect bonuses; Take the faster, character specific route that is more challenging to navigate, or lose time on the safer main path?

Pathways that are mandatory for a character to take under this design mentality shouldn't be too long, and not have any rings. The same would go for the main path before it links back up, so it would generally be best not to branch off too close to the start so that the player has a chance to grab some rings before the split. During the split portion of the level the player would be tasked with holding onto their rings, even on the main path.

The real crux of the matter is this: If the dev team desires to make stages less back trackable, is it worth keeping the perfect bonus in mind when designing the levels going forward, or is it too much trouble for an optional reward most players aren't going to be going for anyway?
 

cookiefonster

Wiki Admin
Perfect bonus is fine in moderation; it's when the level design is expected to cater to the perfect bonus that it starts becoming a design issue.

All levels were tested and tweaked to ensure that perfect bonuses are achievable in each level. This occasionally leads to certain elements like springs being placed where they otherwise wouldn't be, which is bad for conveying level progression to the player. Not all levels can be backtracked in the classic Sonic games, and there's no reason why SRB2 shouldn't be following suit.
What about ACZ2 and HHZ? If I recall, ACZ2 had changes made in a 2.2 patch so that it could no longer be perfect bonused, and HHZ can't be perfect bonused as any character because of the path split.

This is a very good point though; it's pivotal in SRB2 to design levels so that players don't get lost in them. Few things in this game's many versions are more frustrating than inadvertently going in circles in a level (lookin' at you, pre-2.1 THZ1). time gear also raises an interesting idea with making levels only perfect bonusable if you do them in one direction. DSZ1 pulls this idea off beautifully (at least from what I know, I haven't come even close to perfect bonusing it myself); the way forward is always clear, while backtracking paths tends to require clever usage of spin dashing and slope jumps that you wouldn't normally think of doing.
 

Huzzah

Member
Perfect bonus is fine in moderation; it's when the level design is expected to cater to the perfect bonus that it starts becoming a design issue.

All levels were tested and tweaked to ensure that perfect bonuses are achievable in each level. This occasionally leads to certain elements like springs being placed where they otherwise wouldn't be, which is bad for conveying level progression to the player. Not all levels can be backtracked in the classic Sonic games, and there's no reason why SRB2 shouldn't be following suit.

I've always liked how ERZ2 just throws you back at the start of the stage. I think it's a solid idea, allowing the player to redo a path split if they want. It's not gonna work in every stage and designing around that is bad but sometimes, depending on the theme of the stage as well maybe, it's an alternative.

But really, I think the most natural way to implement achievable Perfect Bonuses in every stage would be to make each path split have it's own "perfect" bonus, with splits sharing the same bonus, or something like that (perhaps even tied to each character when there are character-based splits), and if you get all those bonuses from each section, you get the actual perfect bonus for the stage. It's more difficult to make, but it's not nearly as restraining.

And on how Perfect Bonuses make you explore the stage throughly, I've elaborated on this recently on suggestions, so for brevity's sake: I agree 100%. Did it on Tortured Planet (Ring Emblems basically required so) and on Mystic Realm 5.0, and it's a blast. Haven't done on SRB2 2.2 not yet, it's quite a bit more daunting but I'm definitely gonna go for it once I get all emblems.

I think the exploration it encourages is an untapped aspect of the game, that could be reworked into an emblem or something without being as stressful, having to hold all rings without dying and all that.
 

time gear

Eternity in an hour
An alternative idea would be to tie perfect bonuses to a specific number of rings, which is technically equal to the number of rings in the stage but not actually equal. The way this would be achieved would be to have the same number of rings on alternate paths as on the main path, so that when the paths link back up you can't backtrack but you have the same potential ring count. Then clearing the stage with all the rings available to your character would count as a perfect bonus.

This could also be done more visually with character specific paths containing rings that are special, and colored similar to the character meant to take that path. Functionally they would be identical to normal rings, they would just act as an indication that the path you are on is meant for a certain character. Alternate pathways meant for more than one character could have lines of rings that use the colors of each of the characters in sequence. The main point against this would probably be color blindness, but that might be at least partially solvable via color blindness settings in the options menu.

An example of this would be this: When you take an alternate pathway meant for both Fang and Amy, the rings along this pathway would be colored purple and pink in sequence. The number of rings on this path would be the same as the number of rings on the main path, but you would be unable to backtrack onto either path after reaching the point the paths meet again. Once you reach the goal sign, you still receive a perfect bonus if you collected every ring available to your character, because the number of rings collected matches the number of rings needed for the perfect bonus in that stage.
 

cookiefonster

Wiki Admin
An alternative idea would be to tie perfect bonuses to a specific number of rings, which is technically equal to the number of rings in the stage but not actually equal. The way this would be achieved would be to have the same number of rings on alternate paths as on the main path, so that when the paths link back up you can't backtrack but you have the same potential ring count. Then clearing the stage with all the rings available to your character would count as a perfect bonus.

This could also be done more visually with character specific paths containing rings that are special, and colored similar to the character meant to take that path. Functionally they would be identical to normal rings, they would just act as an indication that the path you are on is meant for a certain character. Alternate pathways meant for more than one character could have lines of rings that use the colors of each of the characters in sequence. The main point against this would probably be color blindness, but that might be at least partially solvable via color blindness settings in the options menu.

An example of this would be this: When you take an alternate pathway meant for both Fang and Amy, the rings along this pathway would be colored purple and pink in sequence. The number of rings on this path would be the same as the number of rings on the main path, but you would be unable to backtrack onto either path after reaching the point the paths meet again. Once you reach the goal sign, you still receive a perfect bonus if you collected every ring available to your character, because the number of rings collected matches the number of rings needed for the perfect bonus in that stage.
This idea seems like it would complicate things greatly, not to mention that in many cases it's possible to cheese your way out of character path splits. I think part of the fun of perfect bonuses is going through all of a level's paths anyway.
 

time gear

Eternity in an hour
This idea seems like it would complicate things greatly, not to mention that in many cases it's possible to cheese your way out of character path splits. I think part of the fun of perfect bonuses is going through all of a level's paths anyway.

The suggestion was with what Cobalt said in mind, regarding the potential for future level designs to be made with less ability to backtrack. It's a potential way to allow for perfect bonuses in a stage you can't backtrack through while still having split character paths.
 
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